Saturday, October 26, 2013

My First Letter to Elder McMillan

Dear Elder McMillan, Man it feels so good to be writing that out and to see it on paper (or on my computer). I'm so proud of you for representing our family as well as the Lord with your choice to serve! I'm super excited to have a missionary out in the field that I love again. You're a great example to me even though you're my little bro. I hope you've been having fun in the MTC and not feeling too homesick. I'll have to ask Josh how he dealt with homesickness, but I don't remember him feeling too bad about it. He said most of the time you're so busy you don't really have time to think about it. I don't wanna make this too long but I do want to say that I have been thinking about you a lot and we have been praying for you every night in mine and Josh's prayers. I'll just leave you with a spiritual thought for the day. After you share scriptures from Ether in your farewell talk, it made me want to read it again. So I did, and I especially loved Ether 12:12 which says "For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith." This scripture means so much to me because I've been struggling with infertility for a year and a half now... I know it's kinda irrelevant to your situation but my point is everyone is fighting their own battle. To get on your mission you fought the battle to be a worthy priesthood holder and you fought a battle to have that desire to serve. My battle that I'm fighting and have been for awhile is trying to start my family, to fulfill God's greatest commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. I have been hurting over this year and a half because some days my arms feel so empty because I want my own child so badly...but I have seen how much I have grown because of this trial God has given me. It was frustrating at first, because look at us! I came from a mother who bore 11 children. She obviously had kids very easily... so why do I have this trial? I've learned that this was not the important question to ask. The important question to ask is not only "What can I learn?" but also "What is God's plan for me?" You will meet all kinds of members, nonmembers, investigators, and even companions who are all fighting their own personal battles. Believe it or not, you will be a source of light and strength and comfort for them. So keep fighting your battle Elder! I know that if I keep the faith that the Lord will bless me with a miracle. I consider you to be on a mission as a miracle. Not because I doubted you at all! But because it has been 12 long years since we've had a missionary in our family... I truly believe in miracles and know you will witness many on your mission! I love you and I'm proud of you, Elder! Keep fighting! Love, Ari

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Costume Wishlist

Every year Josh resists my efforts to get him to dress up in a cutesy couples costume with me. Not this year!!! (Unless he has to which case, poop). These are my top choices, in no particular order:

Bert and Mary Poppins. Wouldn't Josh look sooo good in this 'fit??

Black Widow and Iron Man

Others I couldn't find good enough pictures of... Aladdin & Jasmine, Sailor Jupiter & Andrew, Goku & Bulma...I need more ideas!!

...and lastly, if I had a son, I WOULD TOTALLY DO THIS!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Opportunity Rather Than a Trial

Tonight I had a great learning experience when I was surfing. I often find that the ocean has taught me most of the lessons I've learned about myself and about life in general, so I decided that maybe I should start documenting them. I have this awesome book called Surfer's Code: 12 Lessons for Riding Through Life...and it is AWESOME! The great thing is that you don't exactly have to be a surfer to understand and apply these lessons...maybe I'll do a separate blog post on that.

Anyway, I was feeling very moody today... I was grumpy when Josh and I woke up to surf at 5:30 am. I was grumpy when we got out of the water. I was grumpy when we surfed Turtle Bay at 10 am. Grumpy when we got out of the water. The horrible part is all the while, Josh is going out of his way trying to make me feel better (like...very out of his embarrassing himself to make me laugh out of the way) and at first I always reject his efforts. After awhile though, he manages to soften my heart and I crack a smile and all is hunky dory from there. And I do apologize for mistreating him. He deserves to be treated so much better, but sometimes my mood just makes it impossible for me to think straight! So anyway, after I felt better around 1 pm, I made the choice to change my day around and to be happy. And it worked! It's amazing how powerful such a simple decision can be. I enjoyed my last few hours with Josh before he started work at 4.

Josh works at Turtle Bay, so I went out for a second sesh there (totaling 3 surf sessions today...I'm on Fall break). We always say a little prayer before surfing, whether together or not, so in my prior I was asking for safety and asking to have fun, but then I stopped. And I said, no, wait Heavenly Father. You know what? Please help me to treat others kindly in the water and make sure they have fun too. And with that I hopped into the water.

Things were going great...until a beginner ditched his board during a set and it hit me square in the head. Oh I was so mad. He kept saying how sorry he was and all I could do was turn around and go, "Just get out of the water! You don't know what you're doing anyways!!"


I mean, yeah, ouch my head hurt. But OUCH, I probably really cut him deep. I immediately regretted saying those things to him and paddled away, feeling ashamed but not wanting anyone to see my shame. I told my friend what happened and told him how much I wanted to apologize to the guy, but I was too embarrassed. So for an entire hour I kept surfing, too scared and too prideful to go over and apologize. Meanwhile, Guy Who Hit Me is sitting wayyyyy over on the shoulder away from the crowd. Just sitting. Not even attempting to go for any waves. He did this for a full hour, feeling horrible for hitting me. Gahhh I feel just awful as I sit here telling this story. So eventually I decided, if I couldn't gather up the courage myself, I'm going to pray for it. So, again I prayed. This time I asked Heavenly Father to help me catch a wave over to him so it would be easy to just paddle up to him when I got off the wave and just talk to Guy Who Hit Me. My prayer was immediately answered, and I went over and told him how sorry I was for being so rude and for taking out my pain on him and how wrong I was. He just kept apologizing over and over for hurting me but I wanted him to stop! I was the one who needed to apologize. After that, all was good and he paddled back over to the group to catch a wave. I felt as if a burden was lifted off my shoulders.

At first when I was thinking about this experience, I thought, "Wow, Heavenly Father. I asked to be kind to people and then you try me! Haha! Joke's on me, huh??" But then I wasn't a trial, I was given an opportunity to do good, to do exactly what I had asked him to do. And after this realization, I felt at peace. Next time, I want to have the strength and humility to apologize right away to someone who I have offended. Better yet, I want to better myself so that I don't even react the way I did. I could've handled it so much better by telling him, "It's alright, I know it was an accident, sometimes we can't help it, etc."

It's alright though. This was yet another lesson learned in the school of the ocean :)